When I was in my early teens on the heels of the 1970's my mother gave me a book entitled "Our Bodies, Our Selves." This was like a human relationship and sexuality bible for, by, and about women and something so wonderfully educational and non-judgmental that it helped shape me as a young woman with a healthy sense of my own sexuality and an openness to all types of sexuality (taking for granted that abuse and misuse of power were not okay). The Boston Women's Health Collective created and published this magnificent piece of literature in 1970 and it has been revised many times since then. A resource for women of all ages, it embraces our heterosexuality, our homosexuality, our bisexuality and our abstinence, our masturbating selves and our loneliness
So when I read about Catherine O'Donnell, the recent Delaware candidate for the Senate backed by the Tea Party, and her zeal and outspoken stance against masturbation as being "adulterous" it makes me absolutely livid.
In a country where freedom of speech allows our more noble leaders equal air time as their flustered counterparts, we are bound to be exposed to some pretty hard hitting ignorance. But when it comes to the notion of masturbation being dirty, evil, sinful or adulterous, I must speak out and exercise my civil liberties as well.
Doesn't O'Donnell read history books? Hasn't she understood that the connection between repressed female sexuality and taboos against masturbation are long connected with sexual abuse and distorted perceptions of sexuality? Does she know nothing of the Victorian age of oppression and repression when women laced themselves up so tightly against thoughts of sin and lust that they literally fainted from a lack of oxygen; that a shutting down of our understanding of masturbation, particularly among women, also shuts down our understanding of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood as natural extensions of our sexuality?